“Hey Siri, give me transit directions to Pike Place Market.”
A few days ago, that wouldn’t have gotten residents of the Emerald City anywhere, but Apple quietly rolled out support for transit directions in Apple Maps today. Seattle’s transit options join those from Boston, Toronto and Sydney in the list of cities supported by the default iOS mapping app.
iOS users traveling around Seattle can now get directions with options for bus, light rail and commuter train transport. Users can see estimated arrival times for transit options and pick which modes of transportation they want to use. And because this is Apple’s app, users can also access direction via voice search thanks to Siri, iOS’s built-in AI assistant.
Transit options were first released in cities like New York and Chicago back with the debut of iOS 9 in September. The bus and subway options came after years without public transit options built into iOS, with Apple dropping Google Maps in the iOS 6 software update for its own solution, which had just walking and driving directions. Seattle joined the list of supported cities a week after Apple added Portland’s transit options to the app.
Apple is getting to the public transit party quite late. Google has long provided transit options for pretty much any destination in the country, even integrating travel between cities into its app thanks to Amtrak timetables.
The city’s bus and train riders have also benefited from the help of Brian Ferris. He worked on development of the pioneering OneBusAway app, which tells users how long they’ll have to wait for a bus, before being hired by Google and bringing those estimated arrival times to many other cities.
The transit options are rolling out to iPhone, iPad and Mac users throughout the day.